If it feels like it’s only been a few months since we last heard from Italian one-man black metal project Chiral, that’s because it actually has only been a few months since we last heard from Chiral. It was just this past June, after all, when our friends at Fólkvangr Records reissued the one-man project’s gorgeous 2016 record Gazing Light Eternally on cassette with newly recorded bonus track “The Gazer’s Throne,” and August when he released the single song, 30-minute The Twilight Songs – Part I EP. Given that he’s released twelve(!) demos/singles/splits/etc. since launching the project in early 2014, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Teo is keeping up his ridiculous pace with Origins, Chiral’s most recent split with US-based duo Ah Ciliz. Nor should it surprise anyone that, one again, the two songs Chiral contribute the split are the shit. Honestly, I’d be hard pressed to name another atmospheric black metal band that could even come close to matching Chiral’s track record.
Instead, Ah Ciliz is the revelation here - at least for me. Even though the project has been around since 2008, they’ve been releasing music at a much slower clip than their Italian counterpart. In fact, this is the duo’s first release since their 2014 full-length Absurd Aspirations. And while this is admittedly the first time I’ve heard Ah Ciliz, whatever they’ve been doing the last three years has clearly been time well spent. The three songs they contribute to Origins all fall somewhere on the prettier end of the DSBM spectrum. The highlight of their half is “Cascadia,” which reminds me more than a little bit of someone like Woods of Desolation – fast and aggressive, but incredibly melodic at the same time. In other words, it hits my sweet spot just about dead center.
Chiral’s half is comprised of the short instrumental track “A Feeble Glare of Autumn” and the 15+ minute epic “Queen of the Setting Sun,” both of which see him move into much more aggressive territory than anything on Gazing Light Eternally. The instrumental has a strong Second Wave feel to it and features some impressive lead guitar work throughout. “Queen of the Setting Sun” sounds more like he’s doubling down on the early Opeth influences that were scattered throughout his last full-length, especially Morningrise. I really like the heavier direction of the track, and would definitely be into hearing more from Chiral in a similar vein.
Origins is now available from Hypnotic Dirge Records.